It's coming home! Pubs prepare for Euro 2020 with flags, beer and two-metre TVs

Football's coming home, and county pubs are ready to help Salopians roar England on to Euro 2020 glory. Hopefully.

SHREWS COPYRIGHT MNA MEDIA TIM THURSFIELD 10/06/21 .Stuart Coates, general manager of The Abbey, Shrewsbury, gets set for the Euro Championships..
SHREWS COPYRIGHT MNA MEDIA TIM THURSFIELD 10/06/21 .Stuart Coates, general manager of The Abbey, Shrewsbury, gets set for the Euro Championships..

Beer barrels have been rolling in, big screens hooked up and England flags hung as hostelries steel themselves for a month-long festival of football. And after more than a year of coronavirus restrictions disrupting our lives, those pints will taste all the sweeter.

The Abbey pub in Monkmoor Road, Shrewsbury, has been making its final preparations for the tournament this week, with screens being installed. Staff have been decking the place out in England livery, ready to help fans get behind the Three Lions in their first game at Wembley on Sunday against Croatia.

Stuart Coates, general manager, said: "We've got a two-metre video wall going up outside and another five TVs going up outdoors, as well as the ones inside.

"We had a similar thing three years ago for the World Cup and the atmosphere was brilliant. We've got to be careful because of the restrictions. We had around 200 to 250 people in the beer garden, but obviously we won't be able to have that many this time. It's going to be interesting with doing table service, but we've beefed up our front of house team and everyone is ready and excited for it."

Much has been made of the deluge of attacking talent that England manager Gareth Southgate has at his disposal, but whether he can plot a path to victory remains to be seen. Stuart believes this tournament is about more than whether England emerge victorious.

"It's hard to tell, but hopefully England will do well," he said. "I think people will just be happy that it's here and they can watch it with their friends. That's what it's all about."

A big screen is being put together at The Abbey, Shrewsbury

Stuart advised people who want to watch at The Abbey to book in advance to avoid disappointment. Likewise, The Vaults in Castle Street is asking people to book ahead to watch on one of its 14 screens.

Elsewhere, The Salopian Bar in Shrewsbury will be welcoming punters to its new indoor beer garden, and The Crown in Bridgnorth is having the football on inside, with the garden being a Euros-free zone for non football lovers. They will only be able to run at 10 per cent capacity and fans are advised to get there early to avoid disappointment. The George in Oswestry has flags from all different European nations to get supporters in the mood.

Though despite excitement among footy fans approaching fever pitch, a number of pubs are keeping quiet on the publicity side over concerns that it will be a difficult task to manage supporters and remain compliant with Covid-19 safety restrictions.

Shrewsbury-based police superintendent Stuart Bill is looking forward to the tournament, but the main goal in his mind is helping fans enjoy the tournament safely.

"We're all excited," he said. "We've got the Euro's coming and the better weather. Professionally and personally I'm really looking forward to getting out and meeting the public in Shropshire over the coming months.

"The public have overwhelmingly been great so far, but we need to carry on. We just need to hold our nerve."

He added: "When it comes to major events like the Euros, it's not something that we prepare for the week before. It's something we're thinking about months in advance. It's about supporting the community as best as we can on that."

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